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I was so excited when I first bought H.M.S. Pinafore on Video. It is one of my favorite musicals, along with many of the other Gilbert & Sullivan operas, but when I watched it for the first time, I was somewhat disappointed. Most of the cast does a really good job with their respective roles. What really infuriated me was Frankie Howerd's interpretation of Sir Joseph Porter. For one thing, he didn't sing a single lyric, he actually spoke through them. When the chorus came in between his solo lines, it didn't make any musical sense. That most definitely would have made Sullivan, who was very adamant about his music being heard, very angry. Another thing he did was ad-lib most of his lines, something Gilbert, being the strict man that he was, would not have allowed. He also had a very annoying speaking voice which I could barely stand listening to. Peter Marshall has a great singing voice and would have otherwise been perfect for the role of Captain Corcoran. Even though he was good in the singing and the dialogue, his manner was too childish. He lacked the dignity that the Captain traditionally has and thought it more suitable to dance around like a five-year-old at a birthday party. I thought it made him look like an idiot. Also, the woman playing Buttercup didn't have a strong singing voice. To me, it sounded like she took a breath between every single word in her aria at the beginning of the show. She also kind of over did it with the acting business toward the end. The rest of the cast was really good. The only minor disappointment I had was that the man playing Rackstraw didn't hit the high note in his recitative leading into the first act, but that's not really a big deal. He was terrific, otherwise. Not the best in the series, but at least it completes the collection.
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